I have the best go to recipe for chicken if I want the most moist, delicious chicken. This recipe will ensure the skin comes out crispy and flavorful. I think I have been cooking my chicken with this recipe for at least five years. […]
The weekend started with completing our first Practical Exam. The exam that I had to cook broccoli soup, make mayonnaise by hand, and dice potatoes to get 20 pieces as perfect as possible 1/2inch x1/2inch cubes. The Verdict (The Practical) Well, I didn’t get a […]
Week 5 was awesome. We got the results of the 2 exams that we took, and I got a 98% and 95%. We focused on making modern sauces, and a delicious broccoli soup.
We started with practicing our dicing of course, but we also got to make mayonnaise again, to prepare for our practical exam, more to come on that.
We played with agar agar, and xanthum gum. Agar agar is a plant based alternative to gelatin, and xanthan gum helps thicken. I made fluid gel with black currant puree, a tomato coulis and basil oil. I think all of these techniques and sauces are going to help me step my plating game up even more.
Chef walked us through making broccoli soup, and it was so tasty. He is like Mr. Miyagi training Daniel-son. Remember Karate Kid, how Mr. Miyagi ran Daniel-son through all of these ridiculous assignments, and then put them all together to create a strong fighter? That is how I felt when we made the broccoli soup. In making the broccoli soup, we had to make the roux, into velouté sauce that required stock that we made. Then we had to blanch and shock broccoli to blend smoothly in the soup, and flavor to taste. It just all comes together.
The final thing that we made was a chicken consommé. For something so elegant, the way to make it was crazy, but I just followed chef “Miyagi”. Consommé is a very clear soup. To make it we had to mix in a food processor, raw ground chicken, egg whites, eggshells, tomato paste, and mirepoix (carrots, onions, celery). You then add this mixture to hot stock, and wait for the mix to rise like a raft on the surface. So you call the gross mixture of raw chicken, egg whites, egg shells etc. a raft. Once it floated to the top, we had to ladle out the clear liquid, consommé.
Week 6 will start with all sorts of tests and trials. We have a written exam, and also a practical (hands on) exam. Half of the class will be taking the written while the other half are in the kitchen. The practical exam includes making the broccoli soup, the mayonnaise, and dice a potato….ALL IN AN HOUR. I’ll let you know how I do next post. Don’t forget to comment if you have questions, or anything from the peanut gallery to add.
Week 2 started with a drive back into the city. I love to get in early and walk thru the empty halls of this awesome facility. Setting up my station and the even the dish washing station gives me a thrill. Call me corny, but what I realize is that each time I learn something, I get so excited, even if I am struggling with it, I am smiling thru every bit of it.
I was able to get a lot of studying done for my first exam, traveling back from Florida for my day job. With the threat of the Nor’easter I was determined to get back home early. So rather than get on my flight that Friday morning, I went to the airport Thursday at 4:00PM and waited for a 7:40PM flight to be sure I would be in class on time. I made the flight, although it took me to JFK instead of Newark, but whatever, I dodged the storm. I took my exam on food safety and herb identification on time with my class and we will see the outcome this week when we get our grades back.
Stock or Broth
Since we are medium dicing everything in site, this week we used the scraps of the potatoes to make mashed potatoes, or potato puree. We learned that you have to cook the potatoes past where you think you should. Cook them until they are mush, and then you add butter and cream. This was the first thing we actually were able to cook and prepare in class. I used the food mill for the first time, that was exciting. I was surprised our chef instructor didn’t give us a recipe. Rather, he told us we were learning about taste, and not a specific recipe, so I went to town. I can tell, I am going to need to add more salt than I think in my recipes, because I thought my puree was pretty good, but once I put more salt in as chef instructed…new level.
I was so excited to learn how to break down and “fabricate” fish. I was less grossed out than I expected, and I can’t wait to practice again. I learned what a fumét is, its a stock. We learned how to use all of the vegetable scraps (except potatoes, no starches in stocks), and once we broke down the fish we used the heads and bones to turn the vegetable fumét into fish fumét (click the link for the James Beard recipe), fancy right?
Finally, one of the unexpected highlights was the Culinary Management class. The 4 hour lecture was a great surprise in understanding the importance of good leadership in your business. What we learned about leadership reinforced the skills and tools that I sharpen daily in my day job. I am excited that that skillset will be helpful in my culinary dreams. I think Culinary Management course work will be in my future.
As I write this I am preparing to head to the city for week 3, and I am so excited to see what is next to learn this week. If you missed the beginning of this journey, please take a look at my week 1 post
My friends and I recently played tourist through New York City, and we stumbled upon a great eatery for brunch called, Cafe Tallulah, click here to view the restaurant website. This place made me think I was playing tourist in Paris. We ate in the dining room area on the ground floor, but I look forward to going back to enjoy drinks and the cocktail lounge downstairs. Walking downstairs was as if you were stepping back in time, with the antiques, and velvet curtains.
What We Ordered
Le Burger with Pommes Frites
A perfectly cooked medium rare burger, hit the spot, after walking the city all day, and the fries were perfect.
The Croque Madame was so tasty, the creamy bechamel and the runny egg over the crispy bread was perfect. I will definitely try to duplicate this recipe for my next house guests, because making this a staple item in my kitchen will not be a good thing for my health.
The pancakes were the thickest fluffiest pancakes I have ever seen. These things were like an inch thick.
The salad was perfectly dressed and the lardons of bacon were plentiful.
I feel silly talking about a salad, burger, and grilled cheese as if it is was the best thing served in New York City. However, my friends and I throughly enjoyed every morsel of this spread.